Islamabad April 10, 2017 - Industry-Academia collaboration is a time-tested valuable mechanism which enables both entities to sustain growth in their respective areas. Industry relies on academia for innovations, while academia benefits from research grants. However, since both components have different fundamental points of interest and business models, dedicated efforts are required to converge their interests in order for them to achieve a win-win situation.
This was stated by Rana Tanweer Hussain, Federal Minister for Science and Technology, as he was addressing, as the chief guest, the inaugural session of “National Workshop on Application of Robotics Technology for Industrial Development in Pakistan,” a landmark initiative of Ministry of Science & Technology jointly organized by National University of Sciences & Technology, MoST and HEC at NUST main campus here on Monday. The main objective of workshop was to create awareness amongst various stakeholders, promote innovation and commercialization of Robotics Technology in Pakistan, and incorporate automation in the industry to enhance both quality and quantity of production.
The minister maintained that though the model of academia-industry cooperation has been successfully adopted in many developed countries for years together, it has unfortunately suffered from half-hearted, isolated and sporadic support in Pakistan. He said that well-coordinated efforts are required to address this challenge and that the on-going workshop is one such effort to provide a forum to the academicians and researchers working in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence for coming closer to the industry professionals in the field. He added that Robotics and Artificial Intelligence have their application in almost every domain of life, hoping that both the stakeholders would avail this opportunity to share their ideas, projects and problems and develop a mechanism for future collaboration and joint initiatives. He advised the academicians and the industry professionals to prepare and submit R&D research proposals for National ICT R&D funding. He also proposed that some internship scheme might be launched to give opportunity to the faculty and students to work on problems being faced by the industry.
Earlier in his welcome address, Lt Gen Naweed Zaman, HI (M), (Retd), Rector NUST said that NUST enjoys the distinction of being the pioneer higher education institution to have realized the importance of this field and launched a formal Bachelors of Engineering Program in the field of Mechatronics Engineering at NUST College of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (CEME) in 1998. NUST has also established a dedicated Department of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence in the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering at its Islamabad campus. The Department has shown steady progress with on-going applied research initiatives with both local and international industry. For instance, he said, under a Memorandum of Understanding with SAKURA Wheelchairs JAPAN, the researchers from the Department of Robotics are working jointly with Japanese counterparts to develop intelligent wheelchair technology in Pakistan. This technology will help visually or mentally impaired individuals to safely navigate in home and office environments.
In his remarks, Federal Secretary MoST Mr Fazal Abbas Maken said that it is high time that the universities and industry should partner with each other to help find cost effective automation solutions.